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Changing of the guard at DFF annual dinner takes place to a full house

Bill and Marilyn Kiene, Guests of Honor and recipients of the club's first Lifetime Achievement Award
January 26, 2013 Stockton, CA -- Close to 100 people came to celebrate the annual changing of the officers, directors and committee chairs at the Delta Fly Fishers Annual Dinner at the Eagle Lodge in Stockton on Saturday night. Al and Cathy Smatsky provided appetizer plates to start the banquet while Steve Cooper and Tony Ott, their wives and crew did a fantastic job preparing the dinner of salad, tri-tip, barbecued chicken, baked potato, string beans, and carrot cake for dessert with vegetarian lasagna for the few non-meat eaters. The new family style service with the food being brought to the table on platters and in bowls by the Rainbow Girls worked out well with everyone getting their fill and able to select their particular favorite cut of beef or section of chicken. And it should be mentioned that while most of the club members were enjoying their dinners, a core of DFFers worked in the kitchen, including Bruce and Sallye Rollans, making sure that everything was just right.

In a remarkable coincidence, prior to the dinner Tony Ott had attached a ticket to the underside of two plates with the winners receiving a delicious looking T-bone steak. When special guest Bill Kiene turned his plate over both he and Marilyn were shocked to see that he had won. As the huge steak, covering the plate was served, he let be known that a T-Bone was his favorite cut of meat. He dug in with fervor and soon the only thing visible on his plate was a bare bone.

Following the dinner, President Marty called out the kitchen crew headed by Steve Cooper and Tony Ott for a thank you and then quickly moved to a welcome and recognition of special guests Bill and Marilyn Kiene.  Marty acknowledged past officers, directors and committee chairs and moved to the changing of the guard, with the 2012 crew of officers, directors and committee chairs giving way to the 2013 crew. In reality, most of the 2012 volunteers stayed on to serve with the exception of Treasurer John Keagy turning over the books to Jason Stapleton and Bill Laughlin stepping down as Raffle Chair after many years of service.

The awards presentation started with the Don Payne Memorial President's Club Service Award being accorded to Bill Laughlin for his many years of service as the club's Raffle Chair. Jerry Neuburger was presented with the Fly Fisher of the Year award for his efforts with the club's website and newsletter and, to many laughs, both Bruce and Sallye Rollans were presented the Incomplet Angler Award, Bruce for hooking Sallye through the neck with a shad fly and Sallye making the error of standing anywhere near Bruce when he was casting. After receiving the award from Grady Lee, Bruce admitted that Sallye was his third victim and cited two other occasions where his fly had ended up in someone's flesh rather than a fishes' mouth.

Bill and Marilyn Kiene were called to the podium as Guests of Honor in recognition of their over 30 years of service to the Northern California fly fishing community. When asked, Bill spoke about his years in the industry and talked about the early years of the Delta club and his remembrances of members present and past. It was the club's honor to recognize both Bill and Marilyn with the Delta Fly Fishers first Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his years of service and dedication to the fly fishing clubs and fly fishing community of Northern California.

President Marty had some personal thanks for some of those that went the extra mile during the year including Earl Summers for his years of service as Outing Chair, Herman Spalinger for stepping in when the club needed some special help and direction, John Keagy for his years as Treasurer, Charlie Reams for his efforts in making the annual dinner a success and Bob Fujimura for his outstanding work as Membership Chair.

Leo Gutterres, the club's last active founding member from 1976, asked Marty if he could make a special presentation of his famous poppers, mounted in shadow boxes, to three people he wished to recognize for their efforts in club affairs. Leo presented his special awards to Bill Laughlin, Al Smatsky and Jerry Neuburger for their continued support to the club.

The awards presentation over, Bill Laughlin started one of the club' largest raffles in while with a number of ladies' gift baskets prepared by his wife Jean. Bill then moved on to the general raffle with Grady Lee being the grand prizewinner of a brand new pontoon boat. The evening's formal activities ended with the silent auction winners claiming their prizes. A large number of guests stayed behind to help in the hall's clean up, clearing tables and stacking chairs, while others cleaned the kitchen and collected all the utensils, plates and glasses to be returned to their rental locations.

This year's event, the 37th annual dinner, according to founding member Leo Gutterres, accomplished all it was intended to do, celebrate the activities of the last year and inspire the club's members and officers to work to make the coming year the best ever. If you did not attend you missed out, but you can plan to attend then next one, roughly same time, same place with a slightly different cast but just as inspiring and as much fun.

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